#464 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday was a Bobbers birthday. Bobber Birthdays have evolved over the more than two years that we have been swimming as a group year round.

Inexplicably, the Bobber whose birthday it was, opted for a spa day rather than joining us at Tranquility Bay. Maybe the message above informed that decision. She missed out on a lot. A warship arrived to give her a sail past and there were the usual cakes and hot drinks. Because she was missing out on her birthday dip we called her and sang happy birthday down the phone. That mellifluous sound must have torn through the tranquility of the spa like a wax strip on lady parts

At Tranquility Bay though it was sung with enthusiasm and affection for an absent friend. The singing took our minds off chilly fingers and toes and inadequately dried crevices. What even is a Spa Day?

#412 theoldmortuary ponders

We have entered the twilight zone of bobbing. Tide times and light are now the two main factors that control when we plan a bob. 4 pm was particularly kind to us yesterday. The water was a balmy 10 degrees and the outside temperature was 6. My personal dip was brief but effective. I think it took longer to drink my restorative cup of tea than my actual immersion time. Over tea the chat turned to Christmas Day. It has taken two years of Covid affected Christmases to establish a new tradition. A brief dip on Christmas morning with the ‘bobbers’ before we plunge headlong into whatever we would normally do with families and friends over the festive season. I can’t even remember what the restrictions were for Christmas 2020. I think we kept big distances between our ‘bubbles’ * and shouted happily to one another, marvelling at the madness of new friendships and the urge to swim in the sea in winter, when many of us had lived locally for many years and not bothered to swim much at all until a pandemic hit. 2021 we were cautiously closer to one another, wary of passing on Omicron but sharing individually wrapped snacks of chocolate and Christmas snacks, while we damply struggled into dry clothes. 2022 is likely to be giddy, there will be bubbles and huggles and maybe kisses on chilly cheeks. Thank goodness for Bubbles! In the spirit of Advent +2022 here is a previously unseen picture of bubbles over our swimming zone.

* Bubbles were legally acceptable indoor gatherings of no more than 6 adults during the lockdowns of 2020. This rule applied to everyone unless you were serving in the Conservative government who set the rules.For them bubbles were what they always were, a pleasant fizzy drink to be enjoyed while working, partying or indeed groping colleagues in the corridors of power.

#381 theoldmortuary ponders

This boiling sea was the setting of our final October swim. Storm Claidio was on the way. Looking over the wall into the swirling sea it would have been very easy to turn around and walk back home. But I had already waved to the swimmers in the water. Getting in, was tricky. Being in, was thrilling. Getting out, was a relief. A mug of tea and a Tunnocks Waifer biscuit was the reward.

After the event it was most definitely the most wonderful swim. The turmoil of the water made effective swimming impossible at my, rather low, skill level. Even bobbing about and talking was quite a challenge but the whole experience was fizzy, energising and a great way to see out October, still without a wetsuit. The picture below is a full-colour image of the water as we got out, not a spot of colour to be seen.

#378 theoldmortuary ponders.

Only our second plunge into cold seas during October 2022. Since beginning year-round swimming in 2020 we have swum, or bobbed as we call it, at least twice a week. We have gathered a merry band of bobbers around us. October 2022 took us to London for the birth of a grandchild, a fine reason to give up bobbing for a while. In the planning stage we thought we would be taking trips to the Ladies Pond at Hampstead. The reality was that I read a good book about the ponds and stayed as dry as a bone.

Today’s ‘bob’ was fabulous at a water temperature of 14 degrees and bright sunshine. Strangely in 14 degrees there were two incidents of Jellyfish stings, not what anyone expects in chilly waters.

There were many bobbers gathered at Tranquility Bay.

Slightly bittersweet as we start a long goodbye to a bobber who is moving to West Sussex next week, there will be tears and laughter over the next week. There will almost certainly be cake and bubbles too.

At this time of year passers-by always ask us “How do you get into water when it is that cold?”Later in the year they just tell us we are mad. A chance to use my favourite Latin quote.

Not exactly as it is philosophically intended but a pragmatic answer never-the-less.

#346 theoldmortuary ponders

And so after 10 days of Royalty, but not Royalist-tinged blogs I bring the blog gently back to randomness and repetition. This morning Tranquility Bay was exactly that, tranquil. Hugo set about clearing the bay of floating seaweed, Lola ingratiated herself with a very impressed toddler and I talked about local cockerel activity with friendly neighbours, one of whom I have never met before. It was as if the last ten days had never happened. September days with gorgeous sunshine are just so blissful. Nothing more needs to be said.

#307 theoldmortuary ponders

Tranquility Bay, where we usually swim.

A heatwave is a funny thing in this part of England, we are used to gentle weather with most sorts of weather,apart from rain, served in moderation. The weather of the last few weeks has been the sort of weather we fly around the world for under normal circumstances.

Normal English Summer = Lets go to Greece in September.

And so, we adopt Greekish habits at the weekend, early rising to do dog walks, shopping and chores. Swimming when the tides are right. Somehow that frees up time for book reading in the cool of the house while avoiding midday heat. This luxury of ‘found’ time has enabled me to finish reading a fantastic tale of pirates set on the Kent coast. I can hugely recommend this book.

The illustration by Rafaela Romaya has been my bedtime companion for a couple of weeks.

I’ve been doing a little bit of digital fooling around to create an image of Bobbers enjoying Tranquility Bay in this great weather.

It wasn’t such a great leap to have them swimming in the shadow of Pirate Ships.

Or even enjoying a game of modified water polo. And that is the kind of madness that comes from hotter weather than normal on an English person

#265 theoldmortuary ponders

The sun setting on the first of our family days . More than 15,000 steps walked by 5 adults, 2 dogs and one small person. Fabulous to have a day out that just used a quick ferry ride. When we lived in Cornwall, Mount Edgecumbe was a 30 minute car journey. I used to marvel at the families from Plymouth that just casually caught the ferry over for a picnic. Yesterday we did exactly that. Packed up food in our rucksacks and set off on the Cremyll ferry from Admirals Hard to Mount Edgecumbe.

A ferry has crossed this stretch of the Hamoaze since 1204, or 7:15 in the morning depending on your time frame.

In true picnic style ours was eaten fairly soon after arrival and desert was an ice cream from the fabulous Orangery.

15,000 steps was a lot for everyone in the gorgeous weather of yesterday. On our return we all eased our bones and feet with a swim in the sea and our minds with bedtime stories and boardgames.

A day in mid July that felt a lot like Christmas in so many ways.

#246 theoldmortuary ponders

It is an unusual day that sees me up at 4am and straight into my swimming costume, but then Summer Solstice is an unusual day. One where as many Bobbers, who are able, swim at Dawn and Dusk, in the rising and setting sun. The morning bob became quite a dog bobbing session.

Two dogs bobbing and one surfboarding.

The dawn was soft and the water fairly warm, for the time of year.

The evening bob was another lovely experience. Bubbles in both senses of the world were free flowing.

The water appeared to be a little cooler but the prosecco bubbles perked us up a bit. And so, at the opposite end of the day, I was ready for bed straight after my swim.

This is the second year we have marked the Solstice with double dipping sessions, a lovely way to mark time passing and the fellowship of swimming year round.

#178 theoldmortuary ponders.

We have some friends who live in Down Thomas, a village opposite our swimming beach, not on the island but on the cliffs that are hidden behind the sea fog that was sweeping in yesterday afternoon. I sent them this picture with the question ” Where are you?”

Our late afternoon bob was chilly and bright and looked, but did not feel, Mediterranean.

When we got out I had received a photo back, from our friend, with the same question.

” Where are you?”

#80 theoldmortuary ponders

Tranquility Bay

Three years ago I took this picture of a beach on 27/12/2018. Not in my wildest imagination did I think that I would become a year round swimmer from this beach, or that I would ever live just a short walk from here. It feels like yesterday. Not so very far over that blue horizon was an almost two year long, life altering and time warping Pandemic. It all feels quite unbelievable.